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What's an Assault Weapon?
Townhall.com ^ | January 30, 2013 | Jacob Sullum

Posted on 01/30/2013 12:12:47 PM PST by Kaslin

Last week, Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced a new, supposedly improved version of the federal "assault weapon" ban that expired in 2004. But like that earlier law, which the California Democrat also sponsored, Feinstein's bill prohibits the manufacture and sale of guns based on characteristics that have little or nothing to do with the danger they pose.

Although arbitrary distinctions are a defining characteristic of "assault weapon" bans, recent polls indicate that most Americans support them. New survey data suggest one possible explanation: Most Americans don't know what "assault weapons" are.

Feinstein's bill would ban "157 dangerous military-style assault weapons" by name, along with other guns that meet certain criteria. A rifle is considered an "assault weapon," for example, if it has a detachable magazine and one or more of these "military characteristics": a pistol grip or forward grip, a grenade launcher or rocket launcher, a barrel shroud, a threaded barrel, or a folding, telescoping or detachable stock.

The New York Times reported that Feinstein's bill would "ban certain characteristics of guns that make them more lethal." But how exactly do these features -- a threaded barrel, say, or a grenade or rocket launcher without grenades or rockets (both of which are banned for civilian use) -- make a gun "more lethal"? The distinguishing characteristics of "assault weapons" are mainly cosmetic and have little or no functional significance in the context of mass shootings or ordinary gun crimes.

CNN made an even bigger mistake, claiming the bill is aimed at "rifles capable of firing multiple rounds automatically." In reality, the bill has nothing to do with machine guns such as those used by the military, which fire continuously (or "automatically") when you pull the trigger and are already tightly restricted by federal law; it deals only with semiautomatics, which fire once per trigger pull.

Perhaps we should not be too hard on CNN, since President Obama, who supports a new ban on "assault weapons," also seems to think they are machine guns, referring to them as "AK-47s" and "automatic weapons." Contrary to the impression left by such descriptions, "assault weapons" are not distinguished by their rate of fire, the number of rounds they hold or the caliber of their ammunition.

A Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey conducted this month suggests such misconceptions are common. After asking the 1,000 respondents if they thought people should be "prohibited from owning assault weapons," the survey (which is sponsored by my employer, the Reason Foundation) asked half of the sample to "describe an assault weapon." The answers are illuminating.

About two-thirds of the respondents described "assault weapons" as guns that fire rapidly, guns that can fire a large number of rounds without reloading, guns with a lot of "power" or guns used by the military. More than a quarter described them as "machine guns," "automatics," or the equivalent (e.g., "multiple rounds with just one pull of the trigger").

Overall support for banning "assault weapons" was only 44 percent -- considerably lower than the 60 percent or so in recent Gallup and ABC News polls. But there was majority support -- 53 percent and 59 percent, respectively -- among people whose descriptions of "assault weapons" emphasized rate of fire (including those who mistakenly described them as machine guns) or ammunition capacity.

One respondent said an "assault weapon" is a "weapon that is similar to the one that caused the tragedy in Newtown," referring to last month's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. That horrifying event, of course, was the pretext for Feinstein's bill, although the Bushmaster rifle Adam Lanza used to murder 20 children and six adults was not covered by the old federal "assault weapon" ban or by a similar law in Connecticut.

Feinstein has addressed that omission by adding Lanza's rifle to her list of prohibited weapons, which may seem emotionally satisfying. But since would-be mass murderers have plenty of equally effective alternatives, it is logically equivalent to banning the car Lanza drove to the school.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: assaultweaponsban; awb; banglist; dianefeinstein; guncontrol; polling; secondamendment; tyranny; youwillnotdisarmus

1 posted on 01/30/2013 12:12:57 PM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

same thing as a defense weapon


2 posted on 01/30/2013 12:14:58 PM PST by stuartcr ("I upraded my moral compass to a GPS, to keep up with the times.")
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To: Kaslin

If someone wangs a person across the face with a metal bat. That’s an Assault Weapon.


3 posted on 01/30/2013 12:16:22 PM PST by YHAOS
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To: Kaslin

Don’t know if anyone can define an “assault weapon,” but we can most certainly give a good example (if not definition) of an “*sshat weapon” - and the example is Diane Feinestein...bimbo first class and genuine dorkess.


4 posted on 01/30/2013 12:16:28 PM PST by Da Coyote
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To: Kaslin

A rock? Kids have been suspended from school for throwing snowballs - assault snow??


5 posted on 01/30/2013 12:17:23 PM PST by SkyDancer (Live your life in such a way that the Westboro church will want to picket your funeral.)
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To: Kaslin

What is an assault weapon?

It’s the weapon that I’m holding in my hands when you try to take it away from me.


6 posted on 01/30/2013 12:20:19 PM PST by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
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To: Kaslin



If you know they're both the same click here



7 posted on 01/30/2013 12:22:18 PM PST by Lady Jag (If you can't make them see the light, let them feel the heat. - Reagan)
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To: Kaslin
What if I whack someone on the head with one of these?

Here's the racist version for assaulting terrorists.

-PJ

8 posted on 01/30/2013 12:24:19 PM PST by Political Junkie Too (If you are the Posterity of We the People, then you are a Natural Born Citizen.)
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To: Kaslin

“Assault weapon” is a wholly manufactured legal term, designed to promulgate negative stereotypes about guns, that was bastardized from the german term for “assault rifle” reserved for a variety of battle rifle with fully selective fire. It’s also something that makes Diane Feinstein have to change her undershorts.


9 posted on 01/30/2013 12:24:19 PM PST by SpaceBar
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To: All

Cyber semi-automatic weapon:
Bang.....Bang.....Bang.....Bang.

Cyber assault weapon:
Bangbangbangbangbangbangbangbangbangbangbangbangbangbang.


10 posted on 01/30/2013 12:24:28 PM PST by Boonie
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To: SkyDancer




Support FR



11 posted on 01/30/2013 12:30:23 PM PST by Lady Jag (If you can't make them see the light, let them feel the heat. - Reagan)
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To: Kaslin

With a screwdriver in one minute, you can transform a soft and cuddly Ruger 10/22 into a fearful-looking black rifle, simply by changing out the stock.

People are so easily led.


12 posted on 01/30/2013 12:33:47 PM PST by lurk
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To: Boonie

I know for a fact that most leftist gun control weenies think that “semi-automatic” means what we would call “select fire”.


13 posted on 01/30/2013 12:34:26 PM PST by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: Kaslin

I keep one in my car - it’s not useful for hunting or self-defense. I only use it to shoot other people - it’s a paint ball gun.


14 posted on 01/30/2013 12:35:40 PM PST by 11th_VA (JURY NULLIFICATION FOR UNCONSTITUTIONAL GUN LAWS !!!)
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To: Kaslin

To most people, “What Is An Assault Weapon” is about as clear as (including most of those calling themselves such) as.....”What Is A Consevrvative”.....


15 posted on 01/30/2013 12:36:01 PM PST by gunnyg ("A Constitution changed from Freedom, can never be restored; Liberty, once lost, is lost forever...)
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To: Kaslin

It’s a weapon that looks mean. And so, it has to have a name that is scary.

There. How’s that for an accurate description? Now, let’s base all policy on that succinct and accurate description.

Oh, mean looking handguns should be next ... and we should probably include mean looking knives. We, as a nation, should be against mean-looking things ... and we should give them appropriately scary names.


16 posted on 01/30/2013 12:40:10 PM PST by Belteshazzar (We are not justified by our works but by faith - De Jacob et vita beata 2 +Ambrose of Milan)
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To: Kaslin

If you believe her interview with fatass Candy Crowley on CNN, the ‘tragic’ events that she witnessed in 1978’s San Francisco supervisors offices immediately after Dan White killed GAY Harvey Milk were done with a frigging Assault Weapon... No mention that actually, these murderes (White and anotheer) were accomplished using a 6-shot revolver.

Feinstein is an opportunistic bitch. That’s all. Wouldn’t surprise me if she has one of each weapon type she wants to ban either in her home or on her bodyguards’ persons....


17 posted on 01/30/2013 12:43:16 PM PST by Gaffer
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To: Political Junkie Too

I like that coarse salt......buy it all the time.


18 posted on 01/30/2013 12:44:18 PM PST by Gaffer
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To: Lady Jag

Same caliber, one is much more accurate...


19 posted on 01/30/2013 12:45:04 PM PST by Gaffer
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To: Kaslin

An “assault weapon” is any weapon that would be handy to have around to fend off an assault.


20 posted on 01/30/2013 12:45:26 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Kaslin

Any device that can be used by the American people to adequately defend themselves from the armies, agents, and auxiliaries of tyrannical Federal, State, or local government.


21 posted on 01/30/2013 12:51:44 PM PST by Count of Monte Fisto
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To: Kaslin

An assault weapon is anything that “looks scary” or holds “too many bullets”. Essentially, any gun.


22 posted on 01/30/2013 1:02:28 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (There is no requirement to show need in order to exercise your rights.)
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To: Kaslin

“Assault weapon” is another example of how liberals twist the English language to mislead people. Just like they changed “Global warming” to “Climate change” so they can further the hoax when it is freezing out, so they also created this term for guns when examples of self-defense are brought up. “Wow he defended himself with a gun and saved lives! Waah but it’s still an assault weapon and not a defense weapon!”

The thing is ANYTHING can be classified as an “assault weapon”. A pillow is an assault weapon. You can suffocate someone with a pillow. Ban pillows!

This is just another example of how the communist propaganda machine posing as our MSM brainwashes the public, they create new terms all the time to mislead, to push forth an agenda. “Illegals” are now “undocumented workers”..They get “workers” in that term when in reality they are “foreigners who take jobs from US citizens” which is happening here and has been happening here in New York city for years, especially in the construction industry. A lot of construction workers are out of work because of these Fs.


23 posted on 01/30/2013 1:04:30 PM PST by GrandJediMasterYoda (Someday our schools we will teach the difference between "lose" and "loose")
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To: Kaslin
I have a 30 year-old Montblanc ballpoint pen in my shirt pocket.

I can kill people with it.

That's an assault weapon.

24 posted on 01/30/2013 1:14:12 PM PST by elkfersupper ( Member of the Original Defiant Class)
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To: Kaslin

The first person to coin the phrase “assault weapon” was Adolph Hitler, anbd here it is:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/StG_44

The first full automatic rifle, in production BEFORE Mr. Kalashnikov’s AK-** series of rifles.

Any of the rifles that are on Senator Babs Feinstein’s list, are SEMI-AUTOMATIC.

Just to trip these Congressional idiots up, until we vote them, or (let’s just leave that unanswered, for now);

I’d buy TWO, yes, TWO lever action rifles, well, maybe THREE.
1. Caliber .30-30, your choice of brand.
2. Caliber .45-70 (Read the tests done in Sandy Hook, NJ, 1800’s.)
3. Caliber .357 Magnum, your choice of brand.

Yes, I have heard all the arguments between an SKS (semi), AK (semi), AR (semi), and all the rest, that have always brought out a (semi) to compare.

Do you, the reader, see the commonality of those arguing? I don’t think they realize, that the legal eyes, Unconstitutional or not, are looking at (semi) right now, and not lever action. Yes, I support their right to own them, but I also admit that I have shot them in the past, while in military uniform, and they are not my cup of tea. You can blaze away, singularly firing each cartridge, as fast as your finger doesn’t cramp, and that’s ok. I ‘know my limitations’, know my tubular magazine limit, know to ‘shoot two, load two’, and above all, know my range length capability, with each fired cartridge and lever throw. I, also, know that a successfully launched .45-70 projectile will have enough, at range enough, to do what is required. Take a ‘one ounce fishing weight’, launch it with enough velocity to mortally wound an American Bison at 300 yards, at point of aim/point of impact, from a lever action rifle.
(Watch Hickok45 on YouTube hit the gong, (loudly), at 200 yards!)

Have a nice day!


25 posted on 01/30/2013 1:21:22 PM PST by Terry L Smith
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To: Kaslin
I have read Di-Fi’s bill.

Her definition of an illegal weapon (assault weapon or not) is like the court’s definition of pornography. You will know it when you see it.

Seriously, I have inherited an M1 Carbine with 10, 15 and 30 round magazines. It is the paratrooper model with colapsable stock. Unless I toss the stock and the 15 and 30 round magazine, it is a banned weapon by her “new” definition. Even then it may still be illegal as it is “capable” of accepting a magazine of over ten rounds.

26 posted on 01/30/2013 1:26:54 PM PST by Robert357 (D.Rather "Hoist with his own petard!" www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1223916/posts)
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To: Terry L Smith
someone posted this link in the chat room I go to

The Truth About Assault Weapons

Check it out

27 posted on 01/30/2013 1:27:16 PM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Kaslin
Posted elsewhere:
Take a look at the definition: Definition of WEAPON http://www.merriam-webster.com... 1: something (as a club, knife, or gun) used to injure, defeat, or destroy Examples of WEAPON Assault with a deadly Weapon
That arbitrarily defined phrase is just a means to ban all guns –scary looking or not.
28 posted on 01/30/2013 1:32:53 PM PST by StaffiT (Obama is the name - Downgrading the country is his Game)
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To: Kaslin
BTTT

WHY does anyone NEED an ASSAULT RIFLE?

REAL Assault Rifles vs Gun Grabber Myths

HIGH CAPACITY MAGAZINE BAN for WHAT?

29 posted on 01/30/2013 1:33:51 PM PST by EdReform (Oath Keepers - Guardians of the Republic - Honor your oath - Join us: www.oathkeepers.org)
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To: Robert357

A question for her would be -

how do you make a firearm that accepts a magazine know whether the magazine is 5/7/10/30 rounds?


30 posted on 01/30/2013 1:36:11 PM PST by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: Gaffer

If I remember correctly, Dan White was the Northern California coordinator for Handgun Control Inc.


31 posted on 01/30/2013 1:38:29 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Click my name! See new paintings!)
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To: Terry L Smith

I agree. I have one lever action now, my next one is going to be a .45-70 Marlin. Very popular in grizzly country.


32 posted on 01/30/2013 4:31:39 PM PST by Inyo-Mono (My greatest fear is that when I'm gone my wife will sell my guns for what I told her I paid for them)
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